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Company Background

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Company Background of Ascena Retail Group
Business Strategy – BU-4193
Maria Kight
November 11, 2012

History Ascena Retail Group Incorporation is currently one of the nation’s top seller of women’s and teenage girls’ clothes (Ascena Retail Group, 2012). The company is formerly known as, The Dress Barn, operates under several subsidiary brands. The subsidiary brands include Justice, Maurice, Dressbarn, Lane Bryant, and Catherines. In 2012 the company celebrated its 50th year of nonstop business operation. The company’s stock market price rose from below $15 per share during January to $ 19.40 on December 7, 2012 (Bloomberg, 2012). The company combines colors and top quality materials in each Ascena product (Mehta, 1998). Ascena effectively engaged in customer-based marketing strategies (Luther, 2011). The company grew in size by acquiring Charming Shoppes. Consequently, the company’s desire to focus on its top selling brands, precipitated to weeding out previously lesser performance brands. The company plans to drop the lesser performing Charming Shoppes apparel brand, Fashion Bug brand. Likewise, the company is planning to sell another less performing Charming Shoppes brand, Figi’s. With the prior year’s acquisition of Charming Shoppes, Ascena becomes one of the largest apparel retail stores in the nation with an excess of 3,800 stores (Ascena Retail Group, 2012).
Ascena’s current operating brands are the following: • Dressbarn opened its first store opened in 1962 by owner, Rosyln Jaffe. The clothes are geared toward the desires and needs of women in the 21st century. They offered the latest trends.

• Maurices opened its first store in 1931 by owner, E. Maurice Labovitz. This brands offered apparel to females’ sizes 1 to 24 who are savvy, fashion conscientious.

• Justice became a part of the Ascena family with the purchase of Tween Brands in November 2009. It provides clothing apparel to ‘tween’ (name fashioned for girls aged 7-14) that are fun, hip and affordable.

• Lane Bryant opened its first store in 1904 on Fifth Avenue in New York City by Lena Bryant. Although the store opened in 1904 the brand was founded in 1900. The clothing is designed to meet the needs of plus-size women who want to look stylish.

• Catherines opened its first store in Memphis, TN in 1960. It was a small boutique that catered to the plus-size women. This was in a time when such stores did not exist. Today it remains a place for plus-size women to find beautiful designed clothing.

Vision and Mission Ascena’s vision is serve the company shareholders’ needs and create value by aiming to be a retail concept entity with $10 billion in sales and top-tier profits. The company’s mission is to make people look and feel their very best by using the Ascena brands. To comply with this mission, the company sets up stores that offer both comfort and style and availability of the company’s products (Ascena Retail Group, 2012).
Main Products/ Services Ascena’s main product line is female apparel for women, teen-age and pre-teen girls (in which they refer to as ‘tween’). The company also sells jewelry. These products are sold through Ascena’s subsidiary brands; Justice; Catherines; Fashion Bug; Dressbarn; Maurices and Lane Bryant. Ascena has an established specialized retail stores all around the US, Canada and in Puerto Rico, with a retail universe of 3,800 stores 46,000 associates, in US alone (Ascena Retail Group, Inc., 2012). This clearly reflects Ascena’s penetration in US market and its growth which was visible from its 15% sales increase to $3.4 billion, by the end of fiscal year 2012.
Current Events One of the recent developments in corporation is the acquisition of Charming Shoppers, which brought with it a retail universe of 1,800 stores and the ownership of Fashion Bug and Figi’s. This was a major add-on to Ascena’s portfolio which also gave the company an entry into e-commerce medium. Annual sales are exposed to seasonal swings: Justice, experiences high sales during fall session when there is returning back to school and during vacations which is a season of gift giving and merchandising. Similarly, Catherines and Lane Bryant experience a peak during winters, holidays and Easter (Ascena Retail Group, Inc., 2012). Ascena’s purchase of Charming Shoppes opened up for retail shops for one of the Ascena’s top selling brands, Lane Bryant brand. Ascena acquired Charming Shoppes for $890 million. Further, the acquiring of all the Charming Shoppes branches, Ascena opens the marketing avenues of another Ascena best seller; Catherines brand (Associated Press , 2012). Legal or Ethical Issues Ascena has filed several lawsuits during the previous years. In 2011, The United States courts approved the settlement in the case between Ascena and Tween Brands. The case was filed in the eastern district court of California. The charged bordered on the noncompliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act. The acquisition of Charming Shoppers was following by the filing of six lawsuits against the management of Charming Shoppers for breaching upon the Fiduciary duties. Likewise, several shareholders of Charming Shoppes filed several cases in Federal Court in Pensylvania. The five cases were consolidated into one lawsuit case. The complainants wanted to prevent the sale of Charming Shoppes and Ascena to push through. The United States court’s 2012 decision was to permit the sale of Charming Shoppes to Ascena (Ascena Retail Group, 2012). A settlement was reached and all the damages were to be paid by Charming Shopper’s parent company, The Ascena. Thankfully, this did not reflect negatively into the financial statements of Ascena by the end of fiscal year 2012. (Suffern, 2012)

References

Ascena Retail Group, I. (2012, January 31). Our Brands:Ascena Retail. Retrieved December 7, 2012, from Ascena Retail Group Inc.: http://www.ascenaretail.com/
Associated Press . (2012, June 15). Business: Daily Herald. Retrieved December 6, 2012, from DailyHerald.com: http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20120615/business/706159829/
Bloomberg. (2012, December 7). Market Data: Ascena Retail Group. Retrieved December 7, 2012, from Bloomberg News: http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/ASNA:US
Luther, W. (2011). The Markrketing Plan. New York: Amacom Press.
Mehta, P. (1998). Managing Quality in the Apparel Industry. New York: New Age Press.
Suffern, N.Y, 2012, Ascena Retail Group. Retrieved from December 4, 2012, from Yahoo http://finance.yahoo.com/news/ascena-retail-group-inc-reports-110000761.html
Yahoo. (2012, December 7). Ascena Stock Market. Retrieved December 7, 2012, from Yahoo Finance: http://finance.yahoo.com/q/in?s=ASNA…...

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